FIXING HEALTHCARE FOR TENNESSEANS
“Too many patients can’t see a doctor. Even if they have insurance, there aren’t enough doctors to see them. Let’s join together to improve the health care system — for all Tennesseans… “ -Sen. Mark Green, MD
STEP ONE – FIXING THE DOCTOR SHORTAGE
The Association of American Medical Colleges says that in just six years, the United States will have 91,000 fewer trained doctors than it needs.
That’s because in 1997, Congress set a limit on the number of medical residencies, which are primarily funded by Medicare.
A doctor’s training consists of four years of medical school, followed by a residency of at least three years. In residency, the young medical school graduate applies the lessons learned in the classroom in a teaching hospital, under the supervision of highly trained physicians.
Without the residency, a medical student never becomes a doctor.
This year, for the first time, we graduated 400 more medical students than we had residencies for them to pursue. In a nation with a shortage of doctors, we told 400 medical school graduates, “Sorry, try again next year”
Each of us must demand that Washington’s 1997 bottleneck on the nation’s supply of doctors be unclogged, immediately.
STEP TWO – MAKE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES HONOR THEIR OBLIGATIONS
When you buy health insurance, you expect it to be there when you need it. If the company tries to deny coverage, you should have the right to a speedy appeal — by a doctor, not a clerk.
Under legislation sponsored by Dr. Mark Green, health insurance companies in Tennessee now have to use a licensed physician to consider all appeals.
Thanks to the new legislation, your case will now be reviewed by a doctor, not an insurance company bureaucrat.
STEP THREE – LET DOCTORS HELP
Tennessee leads the nation in welcoming out-of-state health care professionals to provide free medical care to our residents
Thanks to Tennessee’s Volunteer Health Care Services Act, Knoxville’s Remote Area Medical (RAM) has been able to deliver free health care to thousands of Tennesseans.
In just the last two years, RAM’s volunteer doctors and other health care professionals delivered world-class care to more than 15,000 patients — and it hasn’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Dr. Green is helping lead efforts to encourage other states to adopt Tennessee’s model.
In a country that’s facing an already serious doctor shortage, we should welcome those health care professionals who are willing to help.
STEP FOUR: PROTECT NURSES, EMTs AND OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
“Thanks to the Green-Favors bill, assaults on health care workers are treated just like assaults on police officers — and penalties for attacks on both groups of workers are strengthened.” -DR. MARK GREEN
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 60 percent of all the workplace assaults in the United States happen to health care workers.
A 2010 study by the Emergency Nurses Association found that more than half of emergency department nurses had experienced acts of violence or verbal abuse, including being kicked, shoved or spat upon.
Fully a quarter of the responding nurses said they had been assaulted more than 20 times in the preceding three years.
Working with Democrat Rep. JoAnne Favors of Chattanooga, Dr. Green was able to convince the legislature to approve new legislation that protects health care workers against violence in the workplace.
Thanks to the Green-Favors bill, assaults on health care workers are treated just like assaults on police officers — and penalties for assaults on both types of workers are strengthened.
If we are going to provide adequate care to every Tennessean, we need to attract more talented people into health care professions. We can’t do that if health care workers are afraid to complete their shifts.
DR. MARK GREEN'S HEALTHCARE PLAN
Expanding Obamacare won’t work, but Dr. Mark Green has a plan that will…